William Ruto cites issues derailing devolution
5 months ago, 23 Maý 00:07
Huge unpaid bills, high cost of resolving intergovernmental disputes, and under-performance of revenue collection in counties are among issues derailing devolution, Deputy President (DP) William Ruto has said.
And the DP, who spoke when he officially opened the Third Annual Legislative Summit at Pride Inn Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, asked Parliament to help counties address these challenges if the devolved units are to deliver on their mandate.
Mr Ruto, at the same time, challenged Ward Reps to sharpen their auditing skills as one of the ways of holding governors accountable.
In particular, the DP wants both the Senate and the National Assembly to hasten the process of enacting the County Pension Bill which seeks to provide a one-stop shop through which employees in the devolved units will be paid their pension.
The DP lamented the high cost the State is incurring in resolving disputes among counties on one hand and between the State and the counties whose bill has skyrocketed to Sh550 million.
MILLIONS OF SHILLINGS
The millions of shillings, according to intergovernmental committee’s report, were spent by 13 counties.
Mr Ruto urged Parliament to enact a law that will remove dispute resolution from the realm of lawyers in order to save counties from losing money through this process.
“The cost of these disputes has reached crisis levels. In fact, there is a case where one county has paid just one lawyer Sh100 million. This is a challenge we must deal with as leaders,” he said revealing that a draft bill to change this state of affairs is with the Ministry of Devolution.
He reminded MCAs they have a constitutional duty to put checks on county executives.
ROBUST AUDIT COMMITTEES
“I know governors are your friends. Some of you share the same party with the governors. But the best way to support is to hold them to account,” he said, while challenging them to put up robust audit committees to ensure that funds devolved to counties are put to proper use.
The DP expressed concern on under-performance in revenue collection in counties, defective internal audit systems and insisted they must be addressed if devolution is to take root.
In her report, Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo has revealed the debt in all the 47 counties has reached a staggering Sh99 billion.
The cause of this huge bill, the DP revealed, is the local purchases and contracts issued on the basis of exaggerated approximations.
He asked the Senate to work with the National Assembly to ensure the matter is dispensed with, urging Members of Parliament to consider passing a national law that will focus on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
“You should provide national legislation that will stop litigation between counties and state agencies which consumes a lot of resources unnecessarily,” said Mr Ruto.
Governor Mbugua said adequate public sensitisation has been done to encourage members of the public to participate.
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